PSY 369: Psycholinguistics
Language Acquisition
Announcements
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On-line Blackboard quiz for chapter 5 is now up.
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You may take it 5 times, top score counts
Due Thursday Mar. 1
Exam 2 is Tuesday, Feb. 28.
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Language development section includes information from
Chapter 3, pages 72-87, & Chapters 4 & 5
Bilinguals & Polyglots
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Many people speak more than one language
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Researchers may refer to anyone who has or is learning a
second language as a “bilingual”
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Tucker (1999) - multilinguals outnumber monolinguals
Simultaneous bilinguals (learned two languages at the same time)
Sequential bilinguals
 Developmental (Early) bilingualism (learned second language
in childhood)
 Adult (Late) bilingualism (learned L2 in adulthood)
Multilingualism (learned more than 2 languages)
Second Language Acquisition (SLA) largely an independent
research discipline since the 1970s
Bilinguals & Polyglots
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What is different about learning L2?
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The L1 is already present in the brain
Knowledge of the L1 can interfere with learning the L2
The L2 learning experience is different
The social experience in learning an L2 is different
What is the impact of knowing/using more than one language?
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Factors affecting second language acquisition?
What does the bilingual lexicon look like?
Interesting effects in bilinguals
 Language transfer
 Language Interference
 Possible Cognitive advantages
Second language acquisition
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Contexts of childhood bilingualism
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Simultaneous
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Both languages are acquired at the same time
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Vocabulary growth of bilinguals is similar to that of monolinguals
Some aspects of acquisition may be slowed, but by age of 4
typically caught up
Doesn’t seem to matter whether languages are “related” or not
(e.g., English - French versus English Japanese)
Can achieve “fluency” in both languages
Sequential acquisition
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The second language is learned after a first language
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When the second language (L2) is acquired is important
 Early versus late learning (e.g., see the Johnson and
Newport study)
Second language acquisition
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Frequency of usage of both languages
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Mode of acquisition
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How often and in what contexts do you use the two languages
“Use it or lose it” - language attrition
Native bilingualism - growing up in a two language environment
Immersion - schooling provided in a non-native language
Submersion - one learner surrounded by non-native speakers
Language dominance effects
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Relative fluency of L1 and L2 may impact processing
Effects of the Critical Period
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Learning a First language:
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Under 7 years: perfect command of the language possible
Ages 8 - 15: Perfect command less possible progressively
Age 15 ->: Imperfect command possible
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But these claims are far from universally accepted
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Learning a Second language
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What if we already know one language, but want to learn another?
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Adults learning another language typically have a persistent foreign
accent – perhaps a critical period for phonology (Flege & Hillenbrand,
1984)
Adults typically do better initially at learning a new language compared
to kids, but kids typically do better over the long term (Krashen, Long, &
Scarcella, 1982)
Second language learning
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Johnson and Newport (1989)
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Native Chinese/Korean speakers moving to US
Task: Listen to sentences and judge whether
grammatically correct
Types of sentences used
1.
Past tense
Plural
Third person singular
Present progressive
Determiners
Pronominalization
Particle movement
Subcategorization
Auxillaries
Yes/no questions
Wh-questions
Word order
2.
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3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Carol is cook dinner for her family.
Sharon is babysitting for hers neighbor.
Tom is reading book in the bathtub.
Janice is following a special recipe for the cake.
Larry went the home after the party.
The man allows his son watch T.V.
I want you will go the store now.
He came my house at six o’clock.
Has the king been served his dinner?
Did washed you your car this week?
Second language learning
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Johnson and Newport (1989)
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Native Chinese/Korean speakers moving to US
Task: Listen to sentences and judge whether
grammatically correct
mean score on
English grmmar test
Age and Second-language acquisition
280
270
260
250
240
230
220
210
200
native
3 to 7
8 to 10
age of arrival
11 to 16
17 to 39
Second language learning
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Flege, Yeni-Komshian, & Liu (1999)
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Native Korean speakers moving to US
Task: Listen to sentences and judge whether
grammatically correct
Second language learning
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Johnson and Newport (1989)
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Native Chinese/Korean speakers moving to US
Task: Listen to sentences and judge whether
grammatically correct
Concluded that around the age of 16 something
happens
Different factors operate on language acquisition before
and after the age of 16
However
Birdsong and Molis (2001)
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Replicated the Johnson and Newport study in
Spanish/English speakers.
Did not find a discontinuity around the age of 16
Bilingual Representations
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How do we represent linguistic information in a
bilingual lexicon?
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Probably depends on many of the factors just discussed
Let’s look at some models and research focusing on the
situation where L1 is dominant relative to L2
Models of the bilingual lexicons
Separate Stores Models (Potter et al., 1984)
• Separate lexicons for each language
Word Association Model
Concept Mediation Model
L1=First Language
L2=Second Language
CONCEPTS
L1
L2
CONCEPTS
L1
L2
Models of the bilingual lexicons
Common Stores Models (Paivio, Clark, & Lambert, 1988)
• Words from both languages in same store
CONCEPTS
L1 & L2
L1=First Language
L2=Second Language
Revised Hierarchical Model
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The results are mixed,
supporting more complex
models
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May be different in different bilinguals
depending on things like age of acquisition,
relative proficiency, etc.
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Kroll & Stewart (1994)
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Proposed that the fluency of
L2 needs to be considered in
the processing model
concepts
conceptual
links
conceptual
links
lexical
links
L1
L2
Revised Hierarchical Model
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Kroll & Stewart (1994)
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concepts
Forward translation
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Proposed that the fluency of
L2 needs to be considered in
the processing model
Translating from L1 to L2 via
concept mediation
Backward translation
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conceptual
links
conceptual
links
lexical
Translating from L2 to L1 via direct
translational links between the two
lexicons
links
L1
L2
Language Transfer in bilinguals
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Language Transfer
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L1 influences L2
Predictions
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Aspects that are similar between L1 and L2, should be
easier to learn (in L2)
McLaughlin (1984) argues against this view, instead
arguing that L2 acquisition proceeds in similar fashion to
L1 acquisition
What about the potential of Interference?
Interference in bilinguals
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Interference
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Does knowing two languages lead to interference?
When found, interference is at multiple levels
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Phonological - least amount of interference
Lexical - mixing words from different languages
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Initially, appear to use a one word per thing strategy
But as they realize there that they’re speaking two language,
then they’ll use words from both languages simultaneously
Code switching
Syntactic
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Until year two, may use only one syntactic system which is
common to both languages
Then a brief period with two sets of lexical items, but still a
common syntax
Finally, two lexicons and two sets of syntax
Code switching
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When bilinguals substitute a word or phrase from one
language with a phrase or word from another language
“I want a motorcycle VERDE”
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Switching is systematic, not random
Code switching
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When bilinguals substitute a word or phrase from one
language with a phrase or word from another language
“I want a motorcycle VERDE”
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The Spanish adjective “verde” follows a grammatical rule that is
observed by most bilingual speakers that code-switch
“I want a VERDE motorcycle”
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Would be incorrect
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because language switching can occur only if the adjective is placed
according to the rules of the language of the adjective
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In this case, the adjective is in Spanish; therefore, the adjective must
follow the Spanish grammatical rule that states that the noun must
precede the adjective
Code switching
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When bilinguals substitute a word or phrase from one
language with a phrase or word from another language
“I want a motorcycle VERDE”
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Generally, bilinguals take longer to read and comprehend
sentences containing code-switched words
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May be due to a “mental switch mechanism” that determines which
of the bilingual’s two mental dictionaries are “on” or “off” during
language comprehension.
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This mental switch is responsible for selecting the appropriate mental
dictionary to be employed during the comprehension of a sentence.
 E.g., if reading an English, a Spanish code-switched word is
encountered, the mental switch must disable the English linguistic
system, and enable the Spanish linguistic system.
Code switching
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When bilinguals substitute a word or phrase from one
language with a phrase or word from another language
“I want a motorcycle VERDE”
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Generally, bilinguals take longer to read and comprehend
sentences containing code-switched words
This time difference depends on similarity of the languages
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Chinese-English bilinguals take longer to recognize English codeswitched words in Chinese sentences only if the English words contain
initial consonant-consonant (e.g., flight) clusters, simply because the
Chinese language lacks this phonotactic structure.
Another current view suggests that language dominance (i.e.,
which language is used more frequently) plays an important role in
code-switching
Interference in bilinguals
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Kilborn (1989, 1994)
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Determine who or what is the one performing the action.
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The waitress pushes the cowboys.
The telephones pushes the cowboys.
Kisses the table the apple.
The baskets the teacher kicks.
As a native speaker of English we can use many cues:
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Word order
Animacy
Verb agreement
Not all languages use the same cues to the same
extent
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e.g., German doesn’t rely as much on word order, but
relies more on agreement processes
Interference in bilinguals
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Kilborn (1989, 1994)
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Determine who or what is the one performing the action.
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The waitress pushes the cowboys.
The telephones pushes the cowboys.
Kisses the table the apple.
The baskets the teacher kicks.
Found that bilinguals (English as second language) typically
carry over the dominant processing strategies from their
native languages.
This interacts with their level of fluency in the second
language
Cog advantages in bilinguals
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Some evidence suggest that being bilingual can have
an impact on cognition outside of language
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Bialystok and colleagues
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Bilinguals are very proficient at switching between languages
Bilinguals also have to be good at suppressing the contextually
inappropriate language
Bialystok, Craik, Klein & Viswanathan (2004)
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Bilinguals are better than monolinguals at tasks involving
cognitive control.
The advantages are maintained in older age: bilingualism may
help to offset age-related cognitive losses.
Exam 2
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Same format
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Multiple choice, definition matching, short answer (3 of 5),
and slightly longer answers (2 of 3)
Chapters 3 (pp 72-87), 4, & 5
Bilingual Syntax
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Schwartz & Sprouse (1996)
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Full Transfer/Full Access Hypothesis
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Second language acquisition is process of “resetting” the parameters already set for L1
Bates & MacWhinney (1981)
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Competition Model
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A probabilistic model, based on statistical regularities in the
input
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PSY 369: Psycholinguistics